Capture Chicago with Urban Sketching

My Urban Sketching experiences are customized for both for first time sketchers and experienced artists. All supplies are included and yours to keep. See everything you get with each experience below. Whether you’re a Chicago local or just visiting, sketching is a great way to experience this city. We’ll explore Chicago’s urban landscape, architecture and parks. You’ll view the city with a local watercolor artist, create a lasting memory, and learn valuable sketching tips.

What is Urban Sketching?

Urban Sketching means sketching on location, typically outside. We are a global community who sketch where we live and travel. We try to stay true to our scene and share our sketches with others online. Visit the official Urban Sketchers website for more information about the annual symposium and other events, local to you.

Urban Sketching Downtown

In any season, sketching is an inspiring and relaxing activity. I will teach you sketching and watercolor techniques to help you make every day creative.

INCLUDED: A Sketch Kit with a watercolor journal, travel palette with 6 colors, a water-brush, pen, pencil, and eraser in a canvas zip pouch.

Rooftop UrbanSketching

Join me in the historic West Loop for this Chicago rooftop experience overlooking the iconic skyline of downtown.

INCLUDED: A Sketch Kit with a watercolor journal, travel palette with 6 colors, a water-brush, pen, pencil, and eraser in a canvas zip pouch.

Sketch the Art Institute

Get creative in this 1 million sqft space filled with art. The museum always inspires me to get creative so why not bring the drawing to the museum?

INCLUDED: A Sketch Kit with drawing pad, water-brush, water-soluble pencil and graphitone, and a waterproof black ink pen in a canvas zip pouch.

What my guests have said:

  • "I had an excellent time with Monika. It was a perfect day, and I enjoyed both the conversation and the urban sketching experience. I'll hope to connect with Monika in the future-- she was easy to communicate with, easy to meet up with, a wealth of knowledge and, a talented watercolorist. This was a great, experience."

    Lynn Urban Sketching Chicago
    Lynn
  • "Monika is such a talented artist. She was able to share her knowledge in a supportive and encouraging way. I enjoyed my time with her and would recommend her."

    Urban Sketching in Chicago
    Lynn
  • "Monika is very patient and helped explain how to sketch and paint with water colors. I had never done it before and it was a wonderful way to spend an afternoon."

    Urban Sketching Marina City
    David
  • "¬†I discovered a new hobby and will definitely go on sketching in the future. Monika gave me great introductions and helpful tips!"

    Urban Sketching the Bean
    Ramona
  • "Monika is a good instructor!! She prepared everything you'll need on the day and guided you step by step of urban sketching!! If you're looking for something special to do for your trip, try Monika's watercolor sketching!!"

    Urban Watercolor Sketching Experience Guest
    Naomi
  • Monika was a wonderful host who is passionate about urban sketching and offered her valuable perspective and expertise which is helpful for both beginner and skilled artists ūüôā

    urban watercolor sketching guest usman
    Usman
  • "Monika was fun and friendly and had some great tips to share on sketching and watercolor. We had enough time to get two pieces done. I had a blast!"

    Urban Watercolor Sketching Experience Guest at Wrigley Building
    Angela
  • "This experience was just so good! Monika is absolutely lovely... a very nice person as well as instructor. I‚Äôm a local and this experience gave me a brilliant new perspective of the city."

    Urban Watercolor Sketching Experience Guest at the Bridge house Museum
    Megha
  • "You can really get into the sketching, Monika gives really helpful tips and you see the city from another point of view."

    Urban Watercolor Sketching Experience Guest at the Chicago Cultural Center
    Christina
  • "I loved the mornings sketching with Monika. I picked up some great hints on how to sketch Chicago's iconic buildings and I felt so confident I attempted one of the El. Would highly recommend this."

    Urban Watercolor Sketching Experience Guest at Marina City
    Karen
  • "Chicago is also the great city for urban sketching, if anyone want to remember the city in a new way, I highly suggest this activity. With Monika‚Äôs help, I‚Äôve already fallen in love with this city and urban sketching!"

    Urban Watercolor Sketching Experience Guest at the Tribune Tower
    Lydia
  • "Doing Monika's Urban Sketching class was a great way for me to experience Chicago. I loved the artist kit that was part of the class."

    Urban Watercolor Sketching Experience Guest at the Tribune Tower
    Chris
  • "It was such a fun afternoon painting and exploring Chicago. Monika even showed me a nice spot with a great view overlooking the city. Def recommend for art-lovers."

    Urban Watercolor Sketching Experience Guest at Pioneer Court
    Modelynn
  • "Monika was super nice and helpful! She gave lovely tips about how to sketch with perspective, but still gave me space to work on my own."

    Urban Watercolor Sketching Experience Guest at the Chicago River Walk
    Yifei
  • "Absolutely¬†awesome. I got to walk another the river walk & learned a bit about watercolor & drawing buildings, though mostly I just got pulled into sketching. I loved the art kit she included. Highly recommend!"

    Urban Watercolor Sketching Experience Guest at the Chicago River Walk
    Trista

Books I’ve shared with my guests:

 

The Art of Urban Sketching: Drawing On Location Around The World I've shared so much of this book in my workshops because it shows off such versatile sketches!

Published in 2012

The Art of Urban Sketching is both a comprehensive guide and a showcase of location drawings by artists around the world who draw the cities where they live and travel.

Authored by the founder of the nonprofit organization Urban Sketchers (www.urbansketchers.org), this beautiful, 320-page volume explains urban sketching within the context of a long historical tradition and how it is being practiced today. With profiles of leading practitioners and discussions of the benefits of working in this art form, this inspiring book shows how one can participate and experience this creative outlet through modern-day social networks and online activity.

You’ll find more than 600 beautiful, contemporary illustrations, as well as artists’ profiles and extended captions where these urban sketchers share their stories, how they work, sketching tips, and the tools behind each drawing.

With sketches and observations from more than 50 cities in more than 30 countries, The Art of Urban Sketching offers a visually arresting, storytelling take on urban life from different cultures and artistic styles, as well as insight into various drawing techniques and mediums.

Sketching People An Urban Sketcher’s Manual to Drawing Figures and Faces

Published in 2016

Drawing people in the outside world can be a real thrill; each sketch captures a particular person and place in time. But it can also be a challenge. How do you spot a likely subject? How do you choose the person most likely to stay still? How do you draw movement for the person that refuses to sit still? Sketching People offers straightforward, practical help to give beginning artists the confidence and ability to draw all sorts of people in many different settings. In the pages of this book, readers will find:

  • How to capture the essence of character
  • Different line-work styles
  • Techniques for creating realistic skin tones
  • The key to capturing the details of street life
  • Ways to create fabric folds
  • Mastering tonal drawings
  • Conveying age differences, and more

This clearly written, fun to read book is bursting with inspirational artwork and candid advice that will help you improve your drawing skills and change the way you sketch for the better.

Sketch Now Think Later Jump into Urban Sketching with Limited Time, Tools, and Techniques

Published in 2017

Boston-based urban artist Mike Daikubara gives beginners a crash course in location sketching that you can use in any city in Sketch Now, Think Later.

Everyone wishes they could sketch stylish scenes, but busy lives leave almost no room for sitting down with a pad and pen to practicing. Many people give up on their potential hobby (and artistic outlet) because they feel they just don’t have the time to lay the groundwork. Here’s a secret though: you do! All you need is a strategy for incorporate sketching into your daily life.

Sketch Now, Think Later covers the tools, techniques and tips that author and Urban Sketching Correspondent of Boston Mike Daikubara has developed in his more than 15 years as a practicing artist, and will show you how to fully dive into any sketching situation with limited time and tools, and still be able to produce memorable, great looking, fun sketches! 

The Urban Sketching Handbook: Understanding Perspective Easy Techniques for Mastering Perspective Drawing on Location (Urban Sketching Handbooks)

Published in 2016

A good sketch starts with good bones.

The fourth book in the¬†Urban Sketching Handbook¬†series uses drawings and simple steps to explain the often challenging and overwhelming concepts of perspective in practical and useful ways for on-site sketching. Most books are either too abstract or don’t provide enough information that relates to what you actually do when you’re out in the busy, wide world about to start a drawing. Where do you start? How do you edit what you see to flatten and shrink it onto your paper? How does perspective work?

The Urban Sketching Handbook: Understanding Perspective¬†helps you learn to think like an architect, to draw buildings and spaces by reducing what you see to simple, basic shapes, then adding layers in simple steps, and finally finishing your sketch with detail, tone, and color–in accurate perspective. Full of helpful tips, architect and illustrator, Stephanie Bower even de-constructs sketches to show you how to create them! Once you understand perspective, it will change the way you see the world–you’ll see perspective everywhere.

Some of the key concepts explored in this volume are:

– Basic Terms
– Basic Spatial Principles
– Types of Perspective
– Building a Sketch in Layers
– Special Conditions

Urban Sketching The Complete Guide to Techniques

Published in 2014

While most sketching guides leave the artist with static bowls of fruit and flower vases to develop their skill, Urban Sketching takes its inspiration from the living, breathing world around us! Contents include the nuts and bolts of sketching and drawing as well as a range of techniques specific to this artistic genre. Readers will discover:

  • Rules on perspective that will aid inn capturing landscapes, buildings, and objects accurately
  • Tips for capturing the essence of people in sketches when subjects are on the move
  • The art of adding notes, commentary, and even speech to sketches

Chapters on sharing sketches through social media, joining the international urban sketching community, digitizing work, and more make this new guide the quintessential resource for anyone interested in joining the exciting art movement. More than 350 full-color illustrations throughout.